Over the Plate With The Mate: #6

Feb. 22, 2010

TEMPE, Ariz. - During the 2010 baseball season, lefthander Josh Spence will be writing about his life as a student-athlete who prepares for his final season of college baseball as well as graduating from Arizona State. Spence will check in periodically to write about school, baseball, life and other things.

What a week it has been! I love being busy, but this takes the cake! I left off that we were being announced at the ASU basketball game last week which was a great honor to be appreciated in front of our peers and gave the newcomers a taste of what things can be like when our season kicks off.

It's been a funny week in regards to getting ready for Northern Illinois and taking care of business in the classroom. It was like a dump truck came by my place and dropped a ton of homework on me. That was the least of my problems as game one was right around the corner. Monday was full of studying and Tuesday is the first of my two days of class each week. Usually when Wednesday comes around it's almost the weekend, but this week was different as I volunteered for 'shadow day', which is essentially a day where student-athletes like myself mentor inner city children in a bid to help the transition from high school to college. I was partnered with two young students by the name of Jorge and Blanca. Since I didn't have class that day, I showed them around the school and seeing as Jorge had dreams of being a college basketballer, we were able to check out Wells Fargo arena. It was a fun filled morning.

Thursday came around fast, one sleep until game one and everyone was anxious as ever (and excited too). I remember last year the night before our first game, a few freshmen by the name of Zack MacPhee and Drew Maggi stayed after practice once everyone had left to practice their 'walkups' to the plate in the dark. It was one of the coolest things I've seen, and really made me feel how much I can take playing for ASU for granted at times. I didn't catch any freshman in this act, but you could feel the electricity in the clubhouse once practice had ended and we knew tomorrow we will embark on a journey of unity, relentlessness and accountability on the way to Omaha.

Friday Started at 9am with a weight session then of to lunch at Munch-A-Mania. For lunch on Fridays at Munch I get the same thing every time, it's called 'The Truth' and I swear by it! There must have been half the team in Munch at the time and it's always a fun environment on game days because softball goes there for lunch, too. After lunch, it's onto the field for a few quick games of cards with the pitchers and into uniform for Jog and Stretch (warm-up). Before putting on the jersey, it didn't take long to realize that there was now a 'C' on the front and a sense of realization came across that now Raoul, Kole and myself must be that little bit more accountable for the team's actions which we take a lot of pride in. after Jog and Stretch it's off to batting practice. Now I always enjoy batting practice before the game, listening to music, catching fly balls, I don't know what it is, but it's awesome. Friday night there were two first pitches and one of them came from Alum Mike Leake. Not only was he a teammate of mine last year but a roommate as well. It was awesome to see him and wish him luck for spring training.

Seth Blair started Friday night and started the season with a bang, along with guys like Zach Wilson, Kole Calhoun and Austin Barnes. It was a great win against a good team and was in fact the 1,000th win for ASU at Packard Stadium, which in itself is a fantastic achievement. Saturday marked the first of two double headers we will play this year and also marked the starting debuts for pitchers Jake Borup and Merrill Kelly, who both did themselves and the team proud. Zack MacPhee was the standout with the stick and was a double short of the cycle in game two of the double header (that'll teach the kid for being greedy, he did stretch a double into a triple. Haha!). The standout on the bump had to be the relief performance of Brady Rodgers, a freshman from Texas. The kid was on and will be an intricate part of this team whether he realizes it or not. Unfortunately, Sunday we were blessed with more rain than expected and were unable to get our game in.

What will this week hold? Hopefully we will learn from our mistakes over the weekend and build of our success.

Until next time, take care

Josh Spence #45


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